A multinational corporation is one that has assets in at least one country aside from its home country. Some multinational companies have budgets larger than certain third-world countries. A multinational corporation is sometimes referred to as a “transnational company.” These large corporations, and the controversy which sometimes surrounds them, have in a way brought the study of business ethics to the forefront.
As a detriment, they have been blamed for hastening the collapse of traditional ways of life; for taking advantage of weak and/or corrupt governments in countries where they do business; for addicting the world population to unsustainable technologies while blocking technologies counter to their interests; and for intensifying the disparities between rich and poor. Some people feel as though multinational corporations eliminate domestic jobs in order to lower costs and increase profits. It has also been said that multinational corporations perpetuate world poverty, undercut the environment, exploit child labor and lack a high moral vision.
As a benefit, multinational corporations affect what we eat, how we transport ourselves, what our communities look like, and how we take care of ourselves when we get sick. They provide new jobs, pay higher taxes, and produce new or less expensive goods and services. They introduce technology, capital, and skills to their host countries and raise the standard of living. Supporters of multinational corporations explain that they offer a benefit (in the form of jobs) to developing countries. This lessens the need for welfare in developing nations. Further, multinational corporations promote free trade in both developing and developed countries. Finally, supporters of multinational corporations suggest that they have strong moral goals, as shown by their commitment to reduce or eliminate world poverty (Quinlivan).
Holloway, Kerri. Business Law and Ethics, notes.
Quinlivan, Gary M. Action Institute. Retrieved October 3, 2010 from http://www.acton.org/pub/religion-liberty/volume-10-number-6/multinational-corporations-myths-and-facts.